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Posts tagged "Washington D.C."

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Happy Valentine’s Bike Day Montage!

Well it's February 14th. And I just decided that for the first time ever Streetfilms was gonna do some happy, loving Valentine's Day biking imagery for a card to our subscribers and fans.

I sifted thru about 30 Streetfilms over the past ten years and lifted out lots of scenes of happiness from some of our videos from NYC, USA and around the world.

Bikes = Love

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Downtown DC Bus Lanes to the Rescue

Like many large American cities, Washington is losing bus ridership as transit speeds slow and service falters. DC needs a bus turnaround, and you couldn’t pick a better place to start than H Street and I Street downtown.

These are two of DC’s busiest bus corridors, peaking at 70 buses an hour and serving routes that carry 20% of MetroBus ridership. But buses on these streets travel as slowly as 3.6 mph.
 
Enter the DC Department of Transportation’s red bus lanes.
 

This summer, DDOT is testing out a new approach to quickly implement bus priority treatments at low cost. The red lanes clear space for buses during peak hours on several blocks congested with car traffic. They cost only $10,000 but will speed trips for tens of thousands of riders.

 
In this Streetfilm, five members of the City Council joined DDOT staff and advocates with Greater Greater Washington to ride the bus lanes and experience the difference they make.
 
The H and I Street lanes are the latest entry in the growing practice of “tactical transit.” Though still relatively rare, a number of US transit agencies are testing out nimble implementation methods, using low-cost materials like paint and signage to increase the speed and reliability of bus trips practically in a matter of days.
 
In a city where other bus lanes have taken nearly a decade to implement, this project signals a much quicker way to deliver better service for bus riders and should serve as a model for many other bus priority improvements to come. 

 

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Bikes Are Freedom: Inspiration from the Experts

Just a little bit of bubble-gum-pop, montage inspiration, "Bikes Are Freedom" showcases bicycling footage from 30+ diverse cities around the globe while featuring over a dozen quotes of inspiration of how biking & freedom intersect for world transportation leaders.

If you are ever feeling sad and blue about the world being dominated by the automobile, this is the pick me up you've dreamed about. At the very least will make you happy for two minutes before pessimism consumes you again. Bikes are rising. Carry on.

(Oh and make sure to watch in High Def for the best swell feeling experience.)

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How D.C. Cut Traffic Fatalities by 73% in a Decade

We continue to present short videos from our tour around Washington, D.C. with Gabe Klein, the former Transportation Commissioner in our nation's capital.

These are the final two vignettes in our series which focus 1) on the incredible reduction in traffic fatalities in D.C. and 2) the role of fast evolving technologies which has drastically altered transportation in our cities in the last few years - and will so much more in the years to come.

And just in case you missed it, last week Gabe talked about the evolution of how D.C.'s center-running, two-way, protected cycle track came into existence (and who challenged him to put it in!) We re-present that here so we have a nice trio of Streetfilms Shorties for you to ingest!

Gabe Klein's new book, "Start-Up City", is available on Island Press.

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Can We Get Some of These DC Protected Bike Lane Features in NYC?

A few days ago I was in Washington, D.C. for a shoot. After leaving Union Station with my gear I made a beeline to check out the newest improvements to the 1st Street bike lane that runs adjacent to the station. I'd heard it was pretty fab, and upon close inspection, it really is.

The separation on this two-way lane varies between three treatments: 1) a concrete curb, which is substantial and well done and runs about half the length of the lane; 2) A combination of green paint, plastic bollards, and armadillos, which all work extremely well in conjunction; 3) paint and plastic bollards for the long block connecting to the Metro Trail. All of the variations feel comfortable on streets where car lanes are narrow and motorized traffic tends not to exceed the 20 mph range.

I was in town to meet up with former D.C. and Chicago transportation commissioner Gabe Klein, who has a new book debuting this week called "Start-Up City" that you should read. We shot some short vignettes, the first of which is above, where Gabe talks about the genesis of the Pennsylvania Avenue two-way, center-running bike path.

Read more...

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Gabe Klein Talks About Getting Sh*t Done in “Start-Up City”

Streets can be tough to change. Between institutional inertia, tight budgets, bureaucratic red tape, and the political risks of upsetting the status quo, even relatively simple improvements for walking, biking, or transit can take years to pull off -- if they ever get implemented at all.

But a new generation of transportation officials have shown that it doesn't have to be that way. Cities can actually "get shit done," as former DC and Chicago transportation commissioner Gabe Klein puts it in his new book from Island Press, Start-Up City.

Streetfilms and our producer, Mark Gorton, recently got to sit down (and walk around) with Gabe to talk about the ideas in the book, which ties together his career as a transportation commissioner and his experience in start-ups like Zipcar. Start-Up City is filled with advice about how to get projects done quickly while choosing the best option for the public (and, of course, having fun). You can get a flavor for the book in this extensive interview with Gabe.

Full disclosure: Gabe Klein sits on the board of OpenPlans, the non-profit that produces Streetfilms and Streetsblog. This video is made possible by the Knight Foundation.

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Some NEW Parking Streetfilms You May Have Missed

We've recently posted a few parking "best practices" direct to Vimeos for use by Streetsblog that you likely haven't seen if you don't check both sites frequently. (Which Streetfilms wholeheartedly endorses.)

First up: We're big fans of the work of Gabe Klein, the former DOT Commissioner for both District of Columbia & Chicago. While I was filming for a project looking at parking policy, we stopped briefly to chat about some of the innovations D.C. instituted while he was there which made paying for parking more efficient. Since the bulk of these comments were likely not to make it in to our final Streetfilm, we wanted to get it out there as a tool for use in those cities who need to reform their systems.

The second (above) is a short interview we conducted with City Councilwoman Margret Chin for a story by Stephen Miller that appeared on Streetsblog. It's a great story if you love happy endings when the topic is talking about the struggle to eliminate parking minimums in dense cities in the U.S.  Hopefully more developers will follow this logical lead.

And while we are at it, don't miss the above excerpt from our awesome Zurich Streetfilm. We did a number of shorter excerpts so that they are more easily used by advocates and community members. This segment talks about Zurich's "Historic Compromise" which essentially kept the number of parking spaces steady at 1996 levels. Yup, that's not a misprint. Watch how they did it!

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My 24 Hour Trip to DC is all about Togas, Bike Share & Tiny Bike Messages of Love!

When I boarded an Amtrak Wednesday morning for Washington, DC to go shoot some interviews for a great ciclovia project I am working on, I stuck around to grab some extra b-roll of D.C. cyclists at rush hour. Little did I know with that decision an adventure began.

I'll start off with this 1 minute montage of inspirational bike phrases someone (some group?) stenciled along the 15th Street protected bike lane. You could call it graffiti, sure. But when they are this tiny and scattered amongst the hundreds of other marks on a block of asphalt, it certainly doesn't feel much like that. And frankly, when you were riding uphill, I found them extraordinarily motivating. Sweet.

As you know, we very rarely feature bike culture events on Streetfilms because we are usually busy doing lots of policy and best practice films around the world.  But every so often the stars align like they did for me in the Nation's Capital for the monthly DC Bike Party Ride. Friends alerted me it was happening, so I moseyed on over.

The theme was "Toga Toga Toga" and of course that means some participants were wearing togas. So we had to ask folks just WHAT or WHO they were wearing. The DC denizens didn't disappoint with plenty of humorous answers. The ride was plenty 'o fun, featuring many hundreds and crusied past many landmarks, but of course everything in the Downtown is practaclly a landmark.  But I digress. Just enjoy.

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Toga Toga Toga: DC Bike Party

As you know, we very rarely feature bike culture events on Streetfilms because we are usually busy doing lots of policy and best practice films around the world.  But every so often the stars align like they did two nights ago in the Nation's Capital for the monthly DC Bike Party Ride.

The theme was "Toga Toga Toga" and of course that means some participants were wearing togas. This got us curious and we had to ask folks just WHAT or WHO they were wearing. The DC denizens didn't disappoint with plenty of humorous answers. The ride was plenty 'o fun, featuring many hundreds and crusied past many landmarks, but of course everything in the Downtown is practaclly a landmark.  But I digress.

Enjoy!

 

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Strong Towns’ Chuck Marohn: Why Suburban Growth Is a Ponzi Scheme

Chuck Marohn cofounded the non-profit Strong Towns in 2009. Since then he has steadily built an audience for his message about the financial folly of car-centric planning and growth. The suburban development pattern that has prevailed since the end of World War II has resulted in what Marohn calls "the growth Ponzi scheme" -- a system that isn't viable in the long run because it cannot bring in enough revenue to cover its costs.

Last year, interest in the Strong Towns message surged and Marohn, in high demand, traveled to towns and cities all over the country delivering "curbside chats" about the need to build places differently. In this Streetfilm we provide an overview of his thinking about street design, land use, and transportation funding. For more Chuck Marohn, visit the Strong Towns blog and check out their podcast.

One of my favorite pieces of commentary from Chuck is this video walk-through of a "diverging diamond" interchange in Springfield, Missouri. As usual he pulls no punches, and he delivers the critique with a biting sense of humor.

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Streetfacts #1: Bike Lanes Aren’t Just for Big Cities

Welcome to the first of five shorts we're calling Streetfacts. With Streetfacts, we'll be highlighting developing trends affecting transportation and planning policy, as well as addressing the cost of "bad practices" that prevent us from shifting to a more balanced transportation network that supports more livable places.

As Streetfilms viewers know, many of the big cities in the U.S. are in the midst of expanding their bicycle networks by installing protected bike lanes. We've shown these projects in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., but some of the newest cities installing them are smaller cities you might not be aware of. Places like Missoula, Flagstaff, Indianapolis, Austin, and Memphis have either installed protected lanes or are breaking ground shortly.

Over the next five weeks, we'll be publishing the rest of the Streetfacts series, which we hope will come in handy in your advocacy. And if they're a big hit, we'll take nominations for other topics and make another batch of Streetfacts later in the year.

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Making the Case That Bikes Mean Business at the 2013 National Bike Summit

How would you make the case to Congress to fund bike infrastructure? That was the question Streetfilms posed to attendees at this year's National Bike Summit. Here's a look at what they told us.

You'll also hear from one of the conference headliners, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who has overseen some dramatic changes in his city. When he took office, Indy had one mile of bike lane. It now boasts 75. Plans call for 200 by 2015. In addition, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a multi-use path which runs through the heart of downtown, officially opens in May. You can be sure Streetfilms will be there to check it out.

And if you haven't seen it, make sure to check out our video on the Women's Bike Summit which was held prior to the NBS.

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Obama Becomes First Prez to Walk Down a Bike Lane on Inauguration Day

The networks were busy tripping over themselves trying to point out all the "firsts" during yesterday's inauguration ceremonies. But when Barack and Michelle Obama stepped out of the presidential motorcade to greet well wishers on Pennsylvania Avenue, they missed a huge one: Obama is now the first U.S. president to walk down a bike lane during his inauguration.

The center-median, two-way bicycle lane down Pennsylvania was implemented by DDOT back in summer 2010, so this is the first inauguration to feature the new look. Check out this clip from ABC News that shows the president stepping out of his limo and almost right on top of a bike stencil...

We've done some Streetfilms featuring some great bicycling from the capital.  Check out this Streetfilm on DC's Capital BikeShare and this one from the 2011 National Bike Summit, which features many scenes of the Pennsylvania Ave bike lane in action.

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Active Living For All Ages: Creating Neighborhoods Around Transit

Streetfilms teamed up with the Public Policy Institute at AARP to bring you a look at how Arlington, Virginia plans for its senior population using transit-oriented development (TOD).  Arlington has been practicing TOD since the late 1970s, when Washington's Metrorail first began service there, and it's proved very effective in accommodating the population growth of this inner suburb.

TOD helps older adults maintain their independence by providing good pedestrian access to a variety of public transit options, entertainment and recreation, and basic services such as shopping and health care.  As Rodney Harrell, senior strategic policy advisor at AARP's Public Policy Institute points out, "When you plan for older adults, you plan for the entire community."

Learn more about the Public Policy Institute's Livable Communities initiatives.

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From the Netherlands to America: Translating the World’s Best Bikeway Designs

The Netherlands is widely recognized for having the highest cycling rates in the world. What's not so well known is that the Dutch don't bike so much because cycling is in their DNA. They do it because after the country started down the path toward car dependence, they made a conscious decision to change course. After many decades of deliberate policy to invest in cycling as a mode of transportation, the Netherlands has the most advanced bike infrastructure you'll ever see.

Recenty Streetfilms joined a group of city leaders from Chicago, Washington, DC and Miami on a study tour of the Netherlands, through the Bikes Belong Foundation's Bicycling Design Best Practices Program. The program shows American transportation professionals and policy makers real life examples of what it looks like to invest in cost-effective bicycle facilities. This video takes you on a tour of the incredibly well thought out street designs in the Netherlands. You'll see the infrastructure, hear from the experts on the ground, and watch the tour participants react and imagine how they might implement similar designs in American cities